Four stand-out educators receive Dr. John Powers Outstanding Educator Award
Saint Francis University presents the Dr. John Powers Outstanding Educator Award to a deserving elementary or secondary teacher or administrator each spring. This year, the university presented the award to four outstanding educators during the Saint Francis University President's Awards Convocation on May 4, 2023.
Michelle Anderson – Altoona Area Junior High School, Special Education Teacher
Michelle has spent most of her teaching career as a Learning Support teacher in the Junior High setting. Michelle's supervisor describes Michelle as a 'caring, generous teacher with a high degree of professionalism.' In her own words, Michelle defines the highlight of her career as helping students become more confident and independent. She prides herself on supporting a constant quest to provide quality learning opportunities for all her students. Michelle lives in Duncansville with her family. She is most proud of her children, Catherine and Nathaniel, who are pursuing their educational goals at Shippensburg University and Saint Francis University. Michelle holds a master's degree from Saint Francis University and is certified in Elementary and Special Education.
Garry Black – Northern Bedford County High School, Business Teacher
Garry is a graduate of Penn State University and holds a master's from Walden University. For the first 14 years of teaching, Garry served as a sixth-grade teacher and, five years ago, transitioned to his current role as a high school business teacher. In his 19-year teaching career, his contributions have spanned well beyond the classroom. Garry serves as the advisor for the Future Business Leaders of America chapter. Within five years, his club has produced 22 state champions and 54 national qualifiers. Garry also has enjoyed a successful football coaching career and has been the head varsity football coach for the last eight years. His team has won three district championships in his coaching tenure and finished as runners-up three times. Garry is also finishing his first year as head coach of our track and field program. While at the Northern Bedford County School District, Garry began the annual Dance-a-Thon and has raised over $377,000 to benefit people in the local region. In 2018, Garry received the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award.
Kevin McCloskey – Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, Biology Teacher
In 1998, Kevin joined the Hollidaysburg Area School District as a high school Biology teacher. In the nearly 25 years he has served the district, Kevin has consistently worked to elevate the learning at the high school. Kevin is well-known for his passion and energy as an educator. Whether working to embed rigorous advanced STEM education through the National Math and Science Initiative or serving on multiple planning committees, Kevin constantly strives to improve student learning outcomes. Innovative, hands-on learning experiences are a constant in his classroom. In 2006, Kevin was recognized with the Keystone Technology Integrator Award and was selected in 2015 as the Teacher of the Year by the Hollidaysburg Area School District Foundation. Kevin holds a bachelor's degree in biology with a Secondary Education certificate and Coaching minor from Shippensburg University and a Master of Science in Biology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the Department chairperson for the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School and teaches AP Biology and Botany.
Madalena Price – Ferndale Area Junior/Senior High School, English Teacher
Madalena Price graduated from Point Park University in 2020 with a secondary English and Special Education degree. While at Point Park, she taught and studied abroad in Italy and Ireland. After graduation, she began her career at Ferndale High School. She taught Learning Support ELA last year and is now the 7th and 8th grade Reading teacher. This year she is also finishing her master's degree in educational psychology from Edinboro University. At Ferndale, she is the Junior High Reading Team Advisor and the PBIS Advisor for the Junior-Senior High. She loves being creative and creating hands-on learning experiences for all her students. Madalena is in her second year of teaching. She loves creating classroom transformations like a book tasting, a Greek day, a camp half-blood day, crime scenes for Edgar Allen Poe, a courtroom and trial for fictional characters, and trying to bring each story to life. She aims to create engaging and hands-on lessons that help each student express themselves and feel proud of their work. In addition, she encourages social-emotional learning and makes it her goal to help each student feel loved and appreciated.
About Dr. John Powers
Saint Francis established the Dr. John Powers Outstanding Educator Award to honor the memory of the late John Powers, who began his 30 years of teaching in Loretto in 1946. Initially hired by the Franciscans to teach history, Dr. Powers accepted the chairmanship of the Education Department within a few years and earned his doctorate in that field from Penn State University in 1956.
In addition to preparing generations of teachers for the classroom, Dr. Powers served on local school boards for fourteen years. He was president of the Pennsylvania Institutional Placement Association and vice-president of the Pennsylvania Association of Liberal Arts Colleges. He and his late wife, Jeanette, were also deeply committed to the local parish school, St. Michael's. The Powers’ three children, Kathy, Jack, and Maureen, all graduated from Saint Francis.